New inspection system improves manufacturing yields

JANUARY 22--Agilent Technologies Inc. (Palo Alto, CA; www.agilent.com) has introduced a new solder-paste inspection system for printed-circuit-board assembly.

Jan 22nd, 2002

JANUARY 22--Agilent Technologies Inc. (Palo Alto, CA; www.agilent.com) has introduced a new solder-paste inspection system for printed-circuit-board assembly. The Agilent SP50 automated optical inspection system for surface-mount technology (SMT) electronics production is expected to improve product yields throughout the manufacturing process.

Solder-paste printing is the first critical process in the SMT production line. The growing use of chip-scale packages, micro-ball-grid arrays, and nearly microscopic 0201 components has made process control and verification of screen printing more critical. Several industry studies indicate that defects in the end product are often related to paste-printing problems. Reliably detecting paste defects early in the manufacturing process significantly improves process yields at the least possible cost, because, at this point in the process, rework time is minimized and minimum investment has been made in the board.

The SP50 is a high-speed, in-line solder-paste inspection system that produces accurate and repeatable measurements of pad offset and skew, solder-paste area, height, and volume. It also allows statistical process-control output. It identifies precise location of paste defects such as insufficient area or height, and missing, smeared, or bridged deposits.

A combination of proprietary new hardware and software allows the SP50 to make accurate, 3-D measurements of 100% of solder deposits on the board. Its speed of 3 in.2/s means it functions well at in-line beat rates of most production lines. The entire board is continuously imaged by raster scan, in one operation. User-friendly programming allows programs to be developed in an hour or less.

The SP50 is expected to ship in May of 2002.

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